A “crime of opportunity” is when a criminal takes advantage of a vulnerability or opportunity that they see in a potential victim. Most South Africans will be familiar with the burden of crime and prevalence of crimes of opportunity in our country. From smash-and-grabs to identity theft, all South Africans are vulnerable to some extent.
One of the potential vulnerabilities that you might be less aware of is our use of smartphones. Almost half of all adult South Africans have a smartphone and with that there is an increase in online banking and digital payment platforms being used. Beyond a smartphone being a valuable item that some see as worth stealing, what that device can give access to is far more valuable.
As Manie Van Schalkwyk, CEO of the SAFPS (Southern African Fraud Prevention Service), stated: “This creates a situation where members of the public are increasingly becoming victims of identity fraud.”
The reality is that South Africans need to be aware of the risks posed by moving more and more financial and personal activities to online platforms. For businesses, organisations, families, and individuals mitigating the risk of banking fraud is critical in the 21st Century. However, what do you do if you or your company is at risk of online and banking fraud?
Contact Your Bank or Financial Institutions Whenever at Risk
The banks of South Africa are our first line of defence against opportunistic cybercriminals and online fraudsters. Our banking institutions have worked tirelessly with the SAFPS to create robust banking platforms that are safe to use. This includes effective responses to users whose identity or finances are put in jeopardy through fraud.
If you are concerned about potential banking fraud, you should contact your bank immediately.
Preventing identify theft and banking fraud requires you or your company to be in communication with your chosen bank and to inform them of any cybersecurity threats and online risks you encounter. They are experienced and trained in fraud prevention and have dealt with every kind of banking fraud that you could be exposed to.
This is in addition to common fraud prevention tactics, such as antivirus and antimalware solutions, frequently changing online logins and passwords and using secure devices for all online activities. As well as being weary when online shopping, using public Wi-Fi networks and being exposed to financial scams.
The SAFPS’ Protective Registration Service
The SAFPS’ Protective Registration is a free service available to all South Africans that provides a variety of protections against potential and future identity theft and banking fraud. This is one of the core services provided by the SAFPS and has helped to protect personal and financial information for millions of South Africans and their companies.
It is important to take every precaution when using digital payments tools, online banking platforms and visiting your favourite online stores. Our smartphones, mobile apps, social media, and other online activities are each a potential vulnerability that could be exploited by opportunistic criminals. Add yourself or your company to the SAFPS’ Protective Registration and give yourself some peace of mind.
The SAFPS’ Fraud Victim Registration Service
As part of the larger Protection Registration services provided by SAFPS, there is a Fraud Victim Registration service that helps those who have become a victim of fraud. This service focuses on protecting the identity of those who register and preventing their continued exposure to banking fraud if and when it occurs. The SAFPS will also provide you with confirmation that your online accounts and finances are safe once again for creditors or banks.
Respond Quickly and Often
These are just some of the basic online responsibilities and fraud prevention methods that we, as South Africans, should be considering in our daily lives. As we become more and more active online, utilise more mobile devices and use online banking tools more often, we need to take the necessary precautions to ensure our personal and financial data remains secure. Invest in fraud prevention measures and services where you can and respond quickly and often to any cybersecurity threats you face.
At MarisIT, we are committed to protecting South Africans businesses and organisations from the growing threat of banking fraud. We offer a range of products and services designed to mitigate cybersecurity risks and keep your online finances secure. Contact MarisIT today and find out how we can help you safe online!